Biography: 1964 - The Tribute (Tribute to The Beatles)
When four musicians from Akron, Ohio, decided to play only Beatles songs a couple of nights every month, not one of them dreamed that their idea would grow into a critically acclaimed theatrical show.
The Ohio foursome viewed their Beatles sets as a sideline, nothing more. But the crowds grew and the word spread. The band began touring nationally, and the legend grew. The musicians in ''1964: The Tribute'' devised a web page, then their own newsletter: ''1964: The Tribune.'' The fan base increased. Repeat visits to cities continued to attract sellout audiences.
Benson noted that the band pays attention just as much to clothes and musical equipment as they do the music. Benson plays a Rickenbacker guitar like that used by Lennon. His acoustic guitar is a Gibson J-160, which Lennon played in ''A Hard Day's Night.'' That Rickenbacker is played into a VOX amplifier, which is also a 1960s model AC-30.
The band goes through suits every six months, but is outfitted by Gordon Millings, The Beatles' tailor in England. ''I remember Gordon telling us he still had some of those tacky Nehru jackets that the Beatles wore at Shea Stadium and asked if we thought they were worth anything. Our jaws just dropped. He still makes suits for us and, when we can't get back, he sends us original bolts of cloth he's saved from that time period. If we need to modify the suits, we have his patterns to go by.''
Naturally, Benson and fellow musicians studied every Beatles video to perfect stage movement.
''1964: the Tribute'' also is booked to perform at corporate gatherings. ''The big joke in the band is 'corporate volume and corporate tempo,'' said Benson. ''These aren't your usual rock 'n' roll concert-goers, but the weird thing is that we have these older folks coming up to us afterward and saying, 'I remembered all the words to the songs.' That's how big an influence the Beatles had on everyone.''
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